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Florida Passes the Electronic Voting for HOA’s Law

Welcome to a new era for HOAs – electronic voting. This is exciting news for Seacrest Services and for your Association.  Nearly 75% of all US citizens have internet access according to the 2013 US Census. The majority of people are using the internet for nearly everything that traditional paper methods used to handle.  In the comfort of their home, association members can vote during elections within their community. The daunting challenges with tallying ballots are gone with electronic voting, not to mention the cost of printing, mailing, and encouraging members to participate in a timely manner.  Their inbox can send the “ballot” and it will prompt them to get their vote in immediately.

With this law comes current Statutory Requirements that the Association must provide each owner with:

  • Authentication of the unit owners identity to the online voting system
  • Secrecy and integrity of each ballot, for elections of the Board
  • Confirmation 14 days in advance, that the unit owner’s electronic device can successfully communicate with the online voting system.

Also, the Association must use an Online Voting System that is able to:

  • Authenticate the Unit Owner’s Identity
  • Must be able to Authenticate the validity of each Electronic Vote to ensure that the vote is not altered in transit
  • For elections of the Board of Administration, able to permanently separate any authentication or identifying information from the electronic voting ballot, rendering it impossible to tie an election ballot to a specific owner (only if the Association’s By-Laws specifically state the vote must be kept secret)
  • Able to store and keep electronic votes accessible to election officials for recount, inspection and review purposes if so determined.

Steps Board Members must take for Online Voting:

  • Board must pass a resolution and/or update Bylaws to include verbiage about electronic voting
  • Members must consent in writing to online voting
  • Board must hire an online election vendor
  • Members must test the system a minimum of 14 days prior to the official voting time.

What Should You Do With This Information?

As a Seacrest Services Association, we are here to help with this innovative technology. Making voting easier for your members will bring continuity to your community and ultimately allow members to be more involved in this area. It’s not too late to make a change in this direction, so please contact your Property Manager to discuss the possibilities.

Seacrest Services Honored by South Florida Business Journal

Seacrest Services was named to the South Florida Business Journal’s Top Landscaping Companies List for 2015. The list was announced on May 20, 2016.

We have been providing premium quality services to our customers for more than 40 years. Richard Fowler purchased Seacrest Services in 1996 and through his experience and efforts Seacrest has become the company it is today with a focus on exceptional customer service and treating employees as family.

Seacrest Services’ comprehensive landscaping services keep your property looking its best throughout the year. Our experienced team of professional landscapers has the expertise and dedication to create and maintain a beautiful landscape that will enhance the visual appeal and value of your property.

South Florida Business Journal researches and ranks the best businesses in South Florida offering the best in local business news from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. South Florida Business Journal Book of Lists ranks the best area companies in their respective fields.

Founded in 1980, The Business Journals has a total national business audience of over 10 million people via 64 publications and 42 websites providing coverage of business news from a local, regional and national viewpoint; providing business solution platforms that strategically target business decision makers.

Seacrest Landscaping Services is proud to say “the longevity of our clients is matched by the tenure of our employees. We maintain one of the highest levels of experienced employees in our industry, ensuring that your property or association gets the professionalism and knowledge it deserves.”

Service Animal Abuse Becomes a Growing Concern!

We all see individuals who take their animals everywhere with them when they leave their home, but are all these animals, service animals?

By definition, service animals are animals (dogs, mainly), that are professionally trained to assist people who are handicapped. These animals can provide help to those who are blind, wheelchair-bound or have other disabilities. Although service animals are recognized by the ADA regardless of whether they are certified by a state or local government, there is a clear distinction between regular pets and service animals. Service dogs are extensively trained to act as the eyes, ears, arms and legs to a person who is disabled. They lead their master, provide guidance and offer protection. Service animals wear special harnesses or collars for easy identification.

The owners of service animals are not required to produce documentation of their disability or the animal’s credentials when they enter an establishment. This and the fact that there is no governing body to legitimize service animals or their trainers have led to people abusing service animal facilities. For instance, it is remarkably easy for a person to go online and purchase a special service animal collar or harness, put it on their animal and take it anywhere. The problem with ‘fake service animals’ is the fact that they are not properly trained how to behave in public places and may become excited, aggravated, bark, bite and even cause property damage. There have even been situations where fake service animals have attacked real service animals.

Don’t be fooled by a pet, masquerading as a service animal. Here are some things to look for in a service animal;

• They always have a service animal collar
• They do not bark unless there is real danger
• They do not bite
• They do not act out of control
• They’re owner has authority over them and you can see it

How To Report An Issue.

Do not take this into your own hands to resolve. Your community HOA is your first stop. Bring the matter to their attention with documented days, times and confrontations. Many times a letter to the pet owner will stop all problems. Should it need to be pursued further, let your HOA handle it. They have the legal representation that can bring clarity to this matter.